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Have you sat down and made a list of your new year's resolutions yet? It's always a fun exercise to take stock of your goals for the year ahead and make a plan on how to achieve them. For many in Delaware and Pennsylvania, you might find that they are personal or health related, but one of them might be buying a home!

There are dozens of steps to take to successfully become a homeowner in 2019 and as your local Delaware and Pennsylvania real estate experts, the Kat Geralis Home Team is happy to help you make that a reality! Below are 5 new year's resolutions to make in order to buy a home in the new year:

Eliminate indulgences
It might not be your favorite path to homeownership, but cutting indulgences can be a quick and simple way to save for a down payment. For instance, could you stand to cut cable and instead use Netflix? Or on the same note, is there a streaming service you could cancel? You might want to cut dining out and your morning coffee runs, instead packing your lunch and brewing coffee at home. These little indulgences can mean big savings if they're avoided!

Start a home savings account
You can't save specifically for your home if you don't have anywhere for it to go! Open a savings account specifically for your new home. Get into the habit of making weekly or monthly deposits—whatever you can afford—and watch your down payment grow!

Do a mortgage test run
The only way to truly know if you can swing being a homeowner in Delaware and Pennsylvania, is to do a test run. Try saving like a homeowner—meaning you set aside your monthly housing expenses and an amount for your emergency fund—and see if you can live with your new budget. 10% of your mortgage payment is a good rule of thumb to account for maintenance fees, so start there.

Pay all bills on time
There is nothing that can raise a red flag quicker to a lender than unpaid bills. If you intend to get approved for a mortgage in 2019, it is best to make sure you pay all of your bills on time. Not only does this keep your credit score high, but it shows lenders you are capable of managing a monthly payment.

Visit open houses
This may seem counterintuitive if you're not yet ready to buy a home in Delaware and Pennsylvania, but attending open houses allows you to see what properties are available in your price range. This gives you a more realistic approach to the market and could even motivate you to save more!

Ready to make your dream of owning a home a reality this year? Give the Kat Geralis Home Team a call today! We even offer FREE First-Time Homebuyer Seminars!

We look forward to hearing from you!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
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5 Delaware and Pennsylvania Real Estate Reality TV Myths

by Katina Geralis

Now that it's winter in Delaware and Pennsylvania, we're all staying indoors a little more and perhaps you're even watching a few real estate reality TV shows— we've all seen a few by now! As these shows grow in popularity, it's important to keep in mind that not everything you see on your screen is actually reality. Much of what takes place is staged and filmed in a much shorter timeline and as your local real estate experts in DE and PA, we've included a much needed reality check for you below!

Myth: Buyers only choose from 3 homes
In nearly every reality TV show based on homebuyers, there are typically three homes toured before the buyer makes a decision and chooses one. While there may be a small percentage of buyers that truly buy one of the first few homes they see in Delaware and Pennsylvania, remember that the average homebuyers tours at least 10 homes during their search, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Myth: The show takes place in real time
It may seem unrealistic that the homebuyers can go through the entire buying process, from search to closing, within a 30-minute time slot and that's because, it is. Real estate reality shows often follow buyers who are farther along in the process and have already chosen a home to buy, in an attempt to speed up the process for viewers.

Myth: These homes are still for sale
As mentioned above, real estate reality shows are often filmed months in advance of their air date. So  if you've spotted a home that you love on your favorite show, keep in mind that unfortunately many of the homes shown are already sold and off the market. The properties are staged for TV for the "home search" phase.

Myth: Your home will sell at the open house
Many times homeowners on TV will hold an open house and then choose from the dozens of offers that result from the traffic. Please remember that just as many homes sell from regular showings and if you hold one, your property may not hook a buyer from the first open house. This is just a small piece of the puzzle when marketing Delaware and Pennsylvania homes.

Myth: Removing a wall is easy
Every homeowner today wants an open concept floor plan and thus, real estate reality shows typically show demo teams knocking down walls to make it happen. In reality, removing walls may not always been in your budget or even possible for your specific home. If the wall is load-bearing, there is much more structural work that comes into play and that can be more costly than you think!

Don't get too caught up in real estate reality TV myths if you're a new homebuyer in Delaware or Pennsylvania! It's always wise to consult the pros first! Give the Kat Geralis Home Team a call today for more information about next steps in the buying process or for a list of available homes.

We even offer FREE First-Time Homebuyer Seminars!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
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How to Buy a Delaware or Pennsylvania Home Before the Holidays

by Katina Geralis

Tis the season for holiday chaos in Delaware and Pennsylvania! Your schedule is likely full of festive gatherings, tree trimming, and traveling to visit with friends and family near and far. Right now, buying a new home and settling in before the new year may seem like a challenge, but don't be so quick to write it off! Buying a new home during this busy time of year can be done and you just need an expert real estate agent and a handful of helpful tips to get the job done!

Below are four tips to help you buy a home in Delaware or Pennsylvania before the holidays:

​Get pre-approved
Don't get off on the wrong foot by touring homes that are outside of your budget. Instead, take the time to get pre-approved with a mortgage lender! This way, you'll know exactly how much home you can afford, as well as whether to not you even qualify to buy a home.

Team up with an expert agent
Your real estate agent should both know the DE and PA market well, as well as have a large network of experts at their disposal. For instance, when you have a specific timeline in mind to buy a home—like during the holidays—your agent should know exactly which local professionals to bring in to complete the transaction, from lenders to inspectors.

Get documents in order
You can never be too organized as a Delaware or Pennsylvania homebuyer. Put together all of the documents you will need to buy a home— tax returns from the past two years, W2's or pay stubs, as well as two months worth of bank statements from all accounts. Keep them in a separate folder just for your purchase as this will speed up the process when the documents are needed!

Stay on track
If you're under contract to buy a home, you will want to stay on top of everyone to keep the transaction moving. When you work with the right real estate agent, they will also play an important role in this. Considering all of the parties involved in the transaction, it may be many days before someone gets the document they need or answers a certain question. If you haven't heard back in a timely manner, always check in with that person to stay on track!

2018 may almost be over, but don't let that stop you from buying a new home in Delaware or Pennsylvania! Give us a call today for a list of available properties as well as next steps for home buying or selling your current home!

We even offer FREE First-Time Homebuyer Seminars!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
Visit My Website
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Did you know selling your Delaware or Pennsylvania home in the fall and winter can be just as lucrative as selling during the spring and summer? It's true! However, that is if your property is well prepared for the market! There are many ways to improve your Delaware or Pennsylvania home before listing it for sale, including removing the following five items that have been known to turn buyers away!

Bugs
Even if you have a few ladybugs taking up residence in your home's windowsills, it's best to remove them before buyers arrive. This is one of the easiest turn-offs for DE or PA buyers as it can give the impression that your home is not clean or well cared for.

Decor Collections
No matter if it's stamps or holiday figurines, you'll want to keep your collectibles stored away during the home sale process. Displaying any type of collection can give off a cluttered vibe to buyers and turn them away from your property— even if they're just pet accessories! 

Odors
One of the quickest ways to send buyers back out the door is by having odors present in your home. Smells can make or break a sale for a buyer, so be mindful of what you're cooking before a showing and be aware of any pet odors that need addressed. Strong scented candles can be a no-go for buyers also as not everyone enjoys the same aromas in their home.

Pet Damage
Remember that not everyone loves pets the way you might. Are your floors scratched from your pet's claws? Are there stains from your pets on the carpet? Consider having your floors refinished or your carpets professionally cleaned prior to buyers arriving at your door. 

Personal Photos
Did you know that de-personalizing your Delaware or Pennsylvania property prior to selling can boost your chances of hooking a buyer? Consider removing all of your personal photos before a showing or open house as this will allow buyers to envision themselves in the home in the future instead of you and your family. 

As your local real estate experts, you can count on the Kat Geralis Home Team to set you up for home seller success! Contact us for more information on your home value, as well as how to prepare your property for the market

We even offer a FREE Home Seller E-Guide!

Give us a call today!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
Visit My Website
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When you've decided to sell your home in Delaware or Pennsylvania, you'll want to make sure buyers are intrigued from the start. That means you've found the best possible listing pricing, have made any necessary repairs, and of course, staged the home in a way that buyers can envision living there. But before you decide everything is complete and sit back to welcome the offers that are sure to come your way, you'll want to take a good look at your kitchen.

It is no secret that kitchens sell homes in Delaware and Pennsylvania and there are a few things that may be found inside yours that can send a buyer running the other way. Take a look at the following to make sure your kitchen is ready for the market:

Pet Bowls
Remember, you love your pet, but not all buyers are pet people. Consider moving your pet food bowls out of sight when buyers arrive for a showing to ensure you don't turn them away, even if they otherwise love the property.

Trash Cans
If your trash cans are out in plain sight in your Delaware or Pennsylvania kitchen, clean the area as thoroughly as possible. This means the can itself looks clean, the bag is empty to avoid any odor, and the space around it is free of recycling items or other trash.

Cluttered Counters
You want to make your kitchen feel as open and spacious as possible, so start by removing all of your small appliances and other knick knacks from the countertops. Clean counters will help buyers note how much space they will have to work with in this area.

Dishes
Before buyers arrive to tour your Delaware or Pennsylvania home, be sure that the sink is clean and empty. Someone may love your home, but when they come across dirty dishes in the sink, they could get the impression that other parts of the home have been neglected.

Pests
Ants, flies, and even mice are not an uncommon homeowner problem, but when you become a home seller, it's important to remove any signs of household pests. This includes disposing of traps and bugs before buyers get to your front door.

Curious if your Delaware or Pennsylvania home is prepared for today's real estate market? Want to know what your home might be worth? Give the Kat Geralis Home Team a call today!

We look forward to hearing from you!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
Visit My Website
Contact Me
Find me on Facebook


Summer is one of the best times to tackle that long homeowner to-do list! Whether it's replacing your front door, installing new light fixtures and landscaping, or even as big as renovating an entire bathroom, there are certain projects that can give your home a much needed boost in terms of looks and value! But don't be too quick with the hammer— instead take a look at our list of Delaware and Pennsylvania home projects that will pay you back when the time comes to sell.

According to real estate news outlet Keeping Current Matters, the following four projects will yield you the highest return on your investment:

Bathroom Remodel
You may have heard that kitchens and bathrooms help sell homes and it's true! A minor bathroom remodel can bring homeowners the highest return on investment—102 percent—when they replace the tub and tile, and add a new toilet, sink, vanity, and other bathroom fixtures.

Curb Appeal
This is what may grab a buyer's attention, so don't write off curb appeal as an unimportant home improvement project this summer! Adding landscaping, including trees, shrubs, and other flowers, creating walkways and accessorizing with planters can yield homeowners as much as 100 percent of their investment at resale.

​Kitchen Remodel
Just like we said above, a kitchen remodel can do wonders in the eyes of a buyer! This home improvement project has the third highest ROI for homeowners, likely allowing them to recoup 98.5 percent of the investment! This remodel includes upgrades like new countertops, flooring, cabinets, and lighting. 

Exterior Work
The exterior of your Delaware or Pennsylvania home is just as important as the interior! In fact, adding new siding, front door, or light fixtures outside can yield homeowners as much as 95.5 percent of their investment— coming in at the #4 top home project in terms of return!

Ready to sell your Delaware or Pennsylvania home? Curious what will help boost your home's value and help you find a buyer in no time? Give the Kat Geralis Home Team a call today!

You can even download our FREE Home Seller e-Guide!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
Visit My Website
Contact Me
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Home Staging vs. Hiding in Delaware and Pennsylvania Homes

by Katina Geralis

When you arrive to tour a home in Delaware or Pennsylvania, it can be easy to get distracted by home features like light fixtures, paint color, number of bedrooms, and the outdoor space— especially if you're a first-time homebuyer! These are indeed important aspects of a property to take notice of, but you will also need to keep your eyes out for minor—or major—flaws that could be hidden with simple home staging.

In some cases, Delaware or Pennsylvania home sellers will try to cover up issues with home staging and as your local real estate experts, we are here to help you uncover them!

Listing Phrases
Before you even arrive at home in Delaware or Pennsylvania, you can get an idea of what might be waiting for you simply by the phrases used in the listing description. Words like "cozy" and "quaint" are often euphemisms for small homes. Listings can also state that they are ready for your touch or a "fixer upper," which typically means the property needs work.

Painted Floors
Paint can cover up many problems in a home— so don't always assume it is for decorative purposes when house hunting! If you happen to pull up a corner of carpeting in a DE or PA home and notice paint covering sections or all of the floor, it may be to cover up pet damage or water spots. 

Rugs
Typically used to warm up a home or add a touch of color to a room, rugs and runners can also be used to cover warped floor boards and water damage. Walk over the rugs several times and take note of how the floor feels— does it creak, crack, or feel unstable? If so, it could be worth taking a close look into before buying the home.

Furniture Placement
If the placement of furniture in a home feels off, it could be because the homeowner is hiding something underneath the furniture or around it. For instance, are there frames hung in an odd formation or spot? They could be covering water spots or cracks. Is there a large couch in the center of the room? It could be covering imperfections in the floor or pet damage.

Ready to get started on your Delaware or Pennsylvania home search? Give the ​Kat Geralis Home Team a call today!

We even offer FREE First-Time Home Buyer Seminars!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
Visit My Website
Contact Me
Find me on Facebook

3 Questions to Ask Mortgage Lenders in Delaware and Pennsylvania

by Katina Geralis

Buying a home in Delaware or Pennsylvania is likely one of the biggest decisions (and purchases!) you will make in your lifetime and as a result, you will want a team of experts on your side to see you through the process. One of the most important is, of course, your real estate agent and the other is your lender. 

Your lender will help you secure financing to purchase a home in Delaware or Pennsylvania and be available to answer all of your questions surrounding debt, closing costs, and even your buying timeline. But remember, not all lenders are the same, so it is key to ask a few questions in order to find the best fit for you:

Is now the right time for me to buy?
Depending on your specific financial situation, it may be in your best interests to put in an offer on your dream home now or wait until next year when your buying power is stronger— and a great lender will tell you that! The right lender will clearly explain how your debts and down payment can affect your buying power—or your ability to qualify for a mortgage and favorable rate—and how that will play into your timeline.

What credit score do I need to qualify?
A great lender will share what they are looking for in terms of credit score and credit history in order to provide financing to a homebuyer. To take it one step further, they may even comb through your credit report to show what debts are worth paying off before applying for a mortgage in order to secure the best rate. 

What are the closing costs?
Depending on the loan program you choose, you will need to pay a few closing costs before anyone hands over your new keys. A great lender will outline the different loan programs you may qualify for and what the closing costs might be for that specific program. The lender should also be able to share how you will pay such costs, whether by check or via electronic transfer.

There are many facets to homebuying in our area and you can count on us to make sure you're aware of them all! Contact the Kat Geralis Home Team today for a lender recommendation or a list of available homes in Delaware and Pennsylvania

We even offer FREE First-Time Home Buyer Seminars!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
Visit My Website
Contact Me
Find me on Facebook

It is common for the real estate market to experience ebbs and flows in Delaware and Pennsylvania— in fact, it's always changing! Some years, it could lean in favor of buyers, and others, sellers may have the upper hand. But how do you know which direction the market is headed right now? Are there signs to watch for?

There are indeed specific factors that can help you identify which type of market you're in and as your local real estate experts, the Kat Geralis Home Team is here to point them out! Below are three ways you can tell if you're in a seller's market:

Home Prices

One way to find out if you're in a buyer's or seller's market is to look closely at home prices. If you notice that home prices are rising steadily over time, you are likely in a seller's market. Curious about your Delaware or Pennsylvania home value? Give us a call! We're happy to provide more information for homeowners in the area.

Final Price vs. Asking Price

If sellers in your area are typically earning the asking price or even more (due to a bidding war or simply buyer demand) for their properties, you are probably in a seller's market. When homes sell for below their asking price, you would are in a buyer's market as these deals would ultimately work in a buyer's favor.

Days on Market

The average number of days that a property is on the real estate market, often referred to as DOM, will show you how "old" the listing is; you can find this figure easily on any listing sheet, either online or in-person. Take a look at this number— if homes are selling quickly (between 7 to 10 days), you are in a seller's market. This is especially important for local homeowners as this indicates their property is likely to sell efficiently and at a favorable price due to buyer demand.

No matter if you're a buyer or seller in Delaware or Pennsylvania, you can count on the Kat Geralis Home Team to walk you through the process! Contact us today!

We even offer FREE First Time Home Buyer Seminars!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
Visit My Website
Contact Me
Find me on Facebook

The In's and Out's of Buying Delaware and Pennsylvania FSBO Homes

by Katina Geralis

You've heard the term before, but what do you really know about FSBO homes in Delaware and Pennsylvania? FSBO, or For Sale by Owner, homes, mean the owners have not enlisted the help of a real estate agent to help them sell the property. And while that sounds as though it will not affect you as the buyer, there are a few things you will need to note before you decide to purchase a FSBO.

You can use an agent to buy a FSBO
Just because the home seller declined the use of a real estate agent doesn't mean you have to! There are many perks to working with an agent when buying a home, perhaps the biggest one being they handle the negotiations for you!

You can still negotiate
As I mentioned above, you can still negotiate your offer— even when it's a For Sale by Owner home! While the seller may have chosen to work without an agent for the commission aspect of the deal, that doesn't always mean they are rigid on the price. Remember that your agent has been here before and will know how to find the best deal!

They might be willing to cover costs
Homeowners in Delaware or Pennsylvania that choose to go the FSBO route may still cover the costs of your agent, regardless of their reasoning behind ditching their own. Many are willing to cooperate with buyers and their agents to ensure a smooth transaction.

You may need a lawyer
Every state is different, but some require that both parties be represented by an attorney, even if you have a buyer's agent on your side. Some do not require that attorney to be present at the closing, so if you are serious about your FSBO purchase, simply consult your real estate agent! 

You should still get pre-approved
It never hurts for a homebuyer to get pre-approved in a real estate transaction— even if it's a FSBO deal! Oftentimes these sellers are inexperienced and will make quick decisions when offers comes in, so it is always wise to already have your pre-approval edge to help yours stand out! 

The most important takeaway is that FSBO homes are not sold the same way standard, agent-listed properties are and the process of purchasing one will differ for Chester County and Delaware County buyers. If you find yourself interested in a FSBO property, do not hesitate to contact your real estate agent! 

Unsure how to navigate the local real estate market in Delaware or Pennsylvania? Give the Kat Geralis Home Team a call today! We even offer FREE First-Time Buyer Seminars!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

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